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Survivor of fire, sexual assault testifies

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 6:34pm

Last Aug. 21 started as a good day. She bought a new car, she shopped with a close friend and finally, she believed, she was going to be free of Ronnie Jones. But the night, she told a jury Tuesday, ended in horror.

“I’m going to kill you. I’m gonna teach you to play with me,” she quoted Jones as saying as he began splashing gas on her. “He kneeled down in front of me and looked me in the eye.” Jones was holding a lighter and he set her on fire, she testified.

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Augusta man convicted of aggravated assault

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 5:25pm

An Augusta man who chased another man down and shot him in the back was convicted of aggravated assault and weapon charges Tuesday.

The Richmond County Superior Court jury found Lamont A. Morris III, 27, guilty of all charges in the March 13 assault on Patrick T. Sapp who was visiting the mother of his infant.

At the conclusion of Morris’ two-day trial, Judge J. Wade Padgett sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

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Riverwatch to get new traffic median

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 4:58pm

A major construction project will add a median barrier to Riverwatch Parkway.

According to a Georgia Department of Transportation news release, more than $9 million was given to Beam’s Contracting for the project which will extend from 15th Street to the Coumbia County line.

The project will entail replacing the current guardrail with a concrete median barrier, as well as milling and resurfacing. It is expected to be completed by July 31, 2016,

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Commission OKs SPLOST package

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 3:48pm


Six Augusta commissioners modified and voted to approve a $215.5 million sales tax package with no contributions to non-profit groups Tuesday, ending weeks of negotiations.

The move left some commissioners crying foul, however, with Commissioner Marion Williams saying he’ll now oppose the package going before voters Nov. 3.

“I’m coming out against it,” Williams said, speaking to one of the groups denied funding, Paine College, after the meeting. “We sold this community out.”

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Jimmy Carter to discuss cancer

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 3:35pm


ATLANTA — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter plans to discuss his recent cancer diagnosis, making his first comments since revealing he has the disease last week.


The Carter Center on Tuesday said Carter will hold a press conference Thursday morning at its offices in Atlanta. The event will be closed to the general public, the statement said.


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Columbia County blasting from site

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 2:25pm

Columbia County residents hearing a boom Tuesday afternoon in the 4600 block of Columbia Road just past Belair Road are advised the sound came from construction blasting for the site of the Shoal Creek development.

According to a statement from Pam Tucker, director of county emergency services, the blasting was to take place 1,000 feet from any residential structures.

Teen charged in armed robbery of Augusta hair salon

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 2:04pm


A 17-year-old has been arrested in Monday’s armed robbery of a Tobacco Road hair salon.

Police responded to Dominion Barber and Beauty Salon, 2862 Tobacco Road, at 3:10 p.m. to investigate an armed robbery. An employee told police a man with a handgun demanded cash. After receiving $40, the man ran from the salon.

Police said a witness helped them identify the suspect as a salon customer, Steven Michael Valentin, of Pepperdine Drive.

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SLED investigating alleged hazing incident involving football players

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 1:37pm

The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating claims made by two former Allendale-Fairfax High School football players that they were beaten during a “brutal hazing incident” at football camp.

Shakur Chisolm and Dimitrius Drayton Jr. claim they were among a group of new and transfer students who were beaten during the camp, held in Orangeburg County the week of Aug. 3.

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Grovetown man charged with kicking baby

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 1:34pm

A Grovetown man remained in jail Tuesday after his wife said he kicked their baby during the weekend.

Alvaro Sales-Alvarado, 25, of Phinizy Street, was charged with cruelty to children by causing excessive physical or mental pain and three counts of third-degree cruelty to children. He’s being held in the Columbia County Detention Center on a total bond of $29,300, according to jail records.

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Bond for teen in school threat case

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 1:32pm


A Columbia County judge granted bond Tuesday to an Aiken teen charged with taking a weapon onto Lakeside High School grounds.

William Jeremiah Hawkins, 18, of Palm Drive, was charged with criminal trespass, disruption or interference with operation of public schools, pointing or aiming a gun at another, and carrying a weapon within a school safety zone. He was arrested Aug. 7 in Aiken County on Columbia County warrants and held until being transferred Friday to the Columbia County Detention Center.

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Man shoots suspect during Aiken home invasion

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:49pm


Police said an Aiken County man defended his family and shot one of several adults who broke into his home early Tuesday morning.

According to an Aiken County sheriff’s incident report, three men and a woman forced their way into the home in the 500 block of Cedar Road in Windsor about 12:30 a.m.

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Suspect arrested in attempt to rob Augusta McDonald's

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:56am

One man is facing charges after he tried to rob the Deans Bridge Road McDonald’s with a BB gun Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Police said the suspect, identified as William Ellison McClain, 22, entered the restaurant at 3357 Deans Bridge Road about 12:45 p.m., pointed a gun at an employee and demanded cash. He ran from the area after the employee fled to the back of the business.

Deputies discovered McClain running from the area. He was taken into custody on Spring Grove Road. Police also found the BB gun, which resembled a Colt 1911 pistol, according to a news release.

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PSC OKs Vogtle spending

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:06am



ATLANTA — Regulators have given preliminary approval of $169 million in spending by Georgia Power on its new nuclear power plant.


The Public Service Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve the utility company’s spending on its construction costs at Plant Vogtle for the six-month period ending Dec. 31.


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Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina plan Aiken visits

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 11:00am

More GOP political candidates are planning visits to Aiken.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson will be the guest speaker at the Aiken Republican Club’s September Luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Newberry Hall in downtown Aiken.

On Friday, Oct. 2, candidate Carly Fiorina will speak at a noon luncheon held by Sen. Tim Scott at USC Aiken’s Etherredge Center.

Ga. health care enrollment surpasses 55,000

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 10:49am



ATLANTA -- More than 55,000 Georgians signed up for health insurance exchange coverage during a “special” four-month period through the end of June.

This period came after regular open enrollment ended in February.

The signups during the special period included people who lost job-based coverage, got married or had a baby since late February.

Overall, more than 940,000 Americans took advantage of these changes in circumstances to obtain coverage in 37 states that use the federal exchange, part of the Affordable Care Act.

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Charleston schools ban Confederate flag

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 7:49am




CHARLESTON, S.C. — Public schools in the South Carolina city where nine black church members were shot and killed earlier this year have banned students from displaying emblems with the Confederate flag.


The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the Charleston County School District code of conduct for the school year that began this week prohibits students from wearing clothing, jewelry or other apparel bearing the image of the Confederate flag.


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Library director is fired

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 9:57pm

The Augusta-Richmond County Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to terminate the employment of library director Darlene Price, according to board President Gwen Rountree.

“Board members felt it was time to go in a different direction,” said Roun­tree, who would not say why Price was fired. “The board is extremely serious about the direction of the library and we want to provide what’s best for the citizens of Richmond County.”

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Nongovernment groups continue push for Augusta SPLOST funds

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 9:07pm

Devoting 4.75 percent of a new sales tax package to nongovernment groups shouldn’t keep Augusta from creating a winning package, a commissioner pushing to include them said Monday.

“We’re talking about less than five percent of the total allocation” of special purpose, local option sales tax funds, Augusta Com­mission member Bill Fennoy said. “Voters will sacrifice a nickel for the (nongovernment organizations) to spend 95 cents.”

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Trial begins for man accused of setting woman on fire

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 5:36pm

The trial began Monday for an Augusta man accused of setting a woman on fire and sexually assaulting her.

Ronnie Jones, 31, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to charges of aggravated battery and rape.

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Gas prices continue dropping

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 5:35pm

Motorists are getting relief at the pump as gasoline prices continue to drop.

Some stations in the Augusta area are already selling gas for less than $2 a gallon. The average for the area on Monday was $2.14. That’s about 25 cents cheaper than last month and slightly more than a dollar less than last year.

Last week, oil reached its lowest closing price since the Great Recession.

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